IM sports as popular as ever

    Photo by Blake Sobczak/North by Northwestern

    It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re knee-deep in your biology lab notes trying to write a report that’s due tomorrow. A soft knock sounds on your locked door, and suddenly you remember why you dread Sunday afternoons.

    You open the door to find the person you expected: that tall, muscular man from down the hall wearing Under Armour and shorts with a baseball glove in his hand. He has come to guilt trip you into playing IM softball because they don’t have the required number of girls.

    It may seem like intramural sports are decreasing in popularity simply because of the weekly hunts to recruit people to play. However, IM Sports Director Ryan Coleman says that is not the case.

    “I think the issue we have now—and it’s not actually a bad issue—is we fill all of our leagues to capacity,” he said. “The reason I can’t go any more than that is we just don’t have any more facility space.”

    Although it’s hard to measure whether there has been an increase, Coleman says there certainly hasn’t been a decrease in the popularity of IM sports on campus.

    As a supervisor of officials, junior Keith Goldner thinks the number of people who have been showing up for games since he started two years ago has been constant. Turnouts have always varied, he said.

    “It completely depends on the team,” he said. “Some teams have trouble even fielding it, even though a lot of people show interest, so that’s why they sign a team up. And then some people show up with twice as many people as you need.”

    At times, Coleman has to deny teams the chance to play simply because all the fields or courts have been fully booked. If, within a week, he cannot ensure a spot for them, Coleman recommends they try a different route.

    “I let them know if I don’t think I can get them into a league that they should probably—if they have other friends on other teams, maybe they can try to join another team,” he said.

    Usually, soccer is the sport that has the most teams on the waiting list, while ultimate Frisbee and football can take a few more teams, Coleman says.

    “The reason being with that is we can run four fields at a time out of Long Field,” he said. “So we can just handle more teams per hour. For soccer, I have one turf field, so I can play one game at a time.”

    According to Coleman, people from a fraternity, sorority, residential college or residence hall will usually come around to register a team.

    Theodore Chou, a CA at Hinman-Lincoln, has taken over as an IM coordinator of sorts for the residence hall.

    “That basically just involves registering our team in the beginning and sort of measuring interest for who wants to play, and sending emails letting everyone know when the games are,” he said.

    Although some sports have a higher turnout than others, Chou thinks it has more to do with players’ skill levels.

    “As long as you have some people who like the sport, they can usually rally others,” he said.

    Unless more field space becomes available, IM sports will remain at capacity. However, there are no signs that it is decreasing in popularity. So for those of you stuck on page three of a 15-page research paper due the next morning, Sunday afternoons and weekday nights will never be free of guilt trips or IM sports.


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